Ethical Decision Making Essay

638 Words Jul 16th, 2013 3 Pages
Changes in health care and society have led to new and increased awareness of the ethical dimension of nursing and its impact on the delivery of high-quality care (Coverston & Rogers, 2000). In their daily practice, nurses are constantly confronted with decision-making that is ethical in nature. An ethical dilemma is a situation wherein moral precepts or ethical obligations conflict in such a way that any possible resolution to the dilemma is morally intolerable. In other words, an ethical dilemma is any situation in which guiding moral principles cannot determine which course of action is right or wrong. One of the systematic approaches available to nurses in solving ethical dilemma is the ethical decision-making model presented below.
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Julie is a teenager who likes to party like every teenager, but has a serious medical problem. Julie visits the public health department regularly and is trying to control her diabetes. In addition, she has the knowledge to adjust her diet to compensate the extra carbohydrates consumed through alcohol. Adhering to principles of autonomy and beneficence are foundational to the ethical decision-making process. Respecting a patients’ autonomy means the patient has the right to make choices regarding care and treatment, regardless of medical opinions and other recommendations (Parker, 2007). Nurse takes into consideration Julie’s right to autonomy and considers appropriate approaches to the situation. Nurse further makes the decision and provides Julie with educational material on alcohol use and uncontrolled diabetes. Nurse provides education on diet and diabetes control. The nurse, as patient advocate, plays an important role in communicating and supporting the wishes of the patient, even when doing so may be against the opinions of the family and physician (Parker, 2007). Thus the nurse in Julie’s case, honor her wishes, but provide her the relevant educational material on diabetes and alcohol use to help her in decision making process. Finally, communication skills are essential to establish and maintain effective working relationships. The nurse regularly communicates with Julie to

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